Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I don't care if it rains or freezes...

Alternative liturgies abound these days here at Melrose. At Morning Prayer we're currently substituting readings from the Tao for the first lesson, and readings from the "illegal" gospels for the second. Our Lord's Prayer alternates between the "Prayer of Christ Sophia" and the "Eternal Spirit" paraphrase from the New Zealand Prayer book.

We've also created a new Sunday service called a "Celebration of Life." It begins like this:

Heart of Love, we stand with hearts and minds open to the inspiration of Universal Wisdom; may we step into each moment with compassion for all the created order, with respect for all that we do not understand,with love for all the beauty that surrounds us. May each moment bring forth a song of celebration from the depth of our being. So be it.

Good words, good goals to strive for. But where is Christ in all of this you might wonder. Everywhere.

It strikes me as ironic (and therefore absolutely right) that the more I learn from the wisdom of other religious traditions, the more I understand what a universal man Jesus really was. Strip away all the rhetoric our church has dressed him up in, and the man himself had an understanding of the way things are that very few wanted then, and very few really want now.

I think about him, of the things he did and said, and I just don't see the all-powerful almighty King, the one in charge of anything. It wasn't what he taught. He taught service, compassion, turning the other cheek, loving your enemy.

These are not the values our culture believes in, no matter what we profess. So ahead of his time as to be timeless... he spoke of God as his father because it was the language of the time. He'd probably be amused, maybe annoyed, that we took that particular gender item and ran with it. We've successfully ignored that he kept company with both women and men, that they were considered equals. We've also managed to skew just about everything else he stood for, and in the process have turned him into a magnificent idol.

I'm finding I love Jesus even more than I did... I just don't love the plastic one on the dashboard of my car.


kpjara said...

I love the plastic one on the dashboard...but only when he's dancing.

Thank you for this post. It helps me remember that not everyone thinks the exact same way! It is very refreshing indeed.

merryn said...

This particular post really resonates for me. It was an incredible relief for me when I visited the community to find that the services didn't have to always "follow the book". Thanks for presenting an alternative perspective. However, now I've got that dumb song in my head...

Luke said...

Sr I was wondering, what are the official liturgies of CHS?Do you follow the BCP of ECUSA? or some other.

Claire Joy said...

When we have an ordained priest, the Eucharist is from the the BCP and the Supplemental Liturgies A, B, C and D. That's true for both houses. Here in Brewster we have also written our own eucharistic-type celebration for occasions when a priest is not available and other elements are normally substituted for bread and wine. We have used herbs (parsley, cilantro, sage, etc); water; air... it's up to the officient to come up with readings, prayers and elements that resonate with a theme that's Earth-related. I'm officiating tomorrow. Any suggestions?